The forested hills of Kentucky hide a very special secret! Well, an open secret since it’s one of the biggest attractions in the area. Carter Caves State Resort Park is located in the town of Olive Hill along Tygarts Creek and is an ideal location for a motorhome camping trip. The park’s main attraction is the caves, of course, and there are more than 20 caverns that wind beneath the forested hills. In addition to the caves, there is plenty more to experience, and camping at Carter Caves State Resort Park will turn into an adventure, unlike any other.
While the caves have been around for a long time, the state park came into being in 1959 and includes the caves that have been designated as nature preserves for the protection of certain endangered species in the area. Renting an RV is a convenient way of moving around the state park, and you’ll find a range of affordable RV rentals in Carter County. Not too far from Carter Caves Resort State Park are the cities of Ashland and Winchester for you to check out when you’re in the area.
While the caves are the main attraction at Carter Caves State Resort Park, there are several tours available that provide an up-close experience in the caves. Tours to Cascade Cave and X Cave are offered through the year, while tours to Bat Cave and Saltpetre Cave are conducted only in the summer months; they remain closed in winter for hibernation season. The highlight of Cascade Cave is the 30-foot high waterfall that’s inside the cave and a massive lake room. Don’t miss the stone fans, pipes, and spirals that have been formed by nature over millions of years, in the X Caves.
When you go RV camping at Carter Caves State Resort Park, set aside some time to go gem mining at the Carter Caves Gem Mine. Located very close to the Welcome Center Gift Shop, there are lots of different gems to discover and make for a fun experience for everyone.
Bird watchers will have a great time with the variety of birds found here. Spring is a great time to watch warbler migrations, waterfowl, and thrushes. You’ll get to see Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, double-breasted Cormorants, and cedar waxwings. Summer months offer sightings of redstarts, bluewings, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and red-tailed hawks. While most areas in the state park are good for bird watching, it’s even better around the Box Canyon Trail and the Carter Caves Natural Bridge.
For anglers looking to spend an afternoon fishing, there is the Smokey Valley Lake, a 45-acre lake within the park. Rich in populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie, you’ll be sure to bring back dinner from the lake!
Camping at Carter Caves State Resort Park
Park your RV rental at Carter Caves State Resort Park and enjoy easy access to the park’s many recreational offerings. The campground has 89 campsites, and amenities include pull-thru sites, big rig access, tent camping, full hookups, 30 and 50 amp electric service, water, sewer, a dump station, a central water spigot, WiFi, cell phone coverage, and a public payphone. Campers have access to restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, and a camp store. There’s a snack bar too and picnic shelters.
With plenty of recreation at the campground, kids will be entertained thoroughly. There are a swimming pool and a playground, recreational trails to explore, and the creek where you could go boating or fishing. For those of you keen on playing a round of golf during your RV rental vacation, there’s a 9-hole golf course located within the park. Bring your furry friends along to this pet-friendly campground.
Exploring the Area
Carter County campers don’t have to go too far to cash in on all the fun! There is always so much happening in Carter County, and when you love the outdoors, you’re in the best place possible! After exploring the Carter Caves State Resort Park, set aside some time to explore the other outdoor attractions in the county, including the town of Olive Hill.
Grayson Lake State Park is about 23 miles from Carter Caves and is also packed with outdoor recreation. The lake offers 74 miles of shoreline, so boating, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are the perfect ways to spend your time at the lake. If you’d rather a hike instead, the Beech Hemlock Forest Trail offers an impressive hike.
Olive Hill is considered the fourth official ‘Kentucky Trail Town’ and is also known for its music. Visit the historic Depot Trailhead in downtown Olive Hill that has recently been restored and now hosts community events, musical evening, farmer’s markets, and more.
When you happen to visit during Labor Day, don’t miss the Fraley Festival of Traditional Music that takes place over the weekend, and has been running since 1970.
Olive Hill has quite a few dining options to choose from, including popular fast-food chain restaurants. Should you rather eat local, walk into one of the family-owned eateries for a wholesome meal.